This Sunday in Tokyo, Japan, a rematch to one of this year’s most dubious boxing decisions will take place between regular WBA Middleweight Champion Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam and decorated olympian, Ryoto Murata.
The first fight between these two created a storm of controversy back in May of this year when despite being dropped and outboxed for large portions of the fight, somehow two of the judges scorecards had N’Dam winning the fight, with the third opposing them and scoring the fight convincingly in Murata’s favor, 117-110.
Such a discrepancy in scoring didn’t go unnoticed and WBA President Gilberto Mendoza, who privately shared the same scorecard as the third judge, apologized to all Japanese boxing fans and ordered an immediate rematch. Both judges who scored the fight for N’Dam were also given a six-month suspension.
So, a little under five months later and here we are again.
The hometown favorite Ryota Murata comes in as a whopping -925 favorite with the Cameroonian-born champion coming back at a +550.
Despite the huge odds on offer here its hard to argue with Murata being priced so heavily. He dominated the first fight so thoroughly that its hard to see what N’Dam and his Cuban trainer Pedro Diaz can come up with to combat this in just a few short months.
N’Dam moved well in the early portion of the fight, staying on the outside and employing his jab to offset the more ponderous challenger. But as the fight wore on into the mid-rounds the gulf in both power and punch selection became obvious as Murata was landing heavy shots targeting N’Dam’s exposed head and body. This culminated in the hometown fighter delivering a crisp right hand that put N’Dam down at the end of the fourth round. From then on it was all Murata as N’Dam went into what was effectively survival mode till the final bell, firing off rushed shots as he looked to get away from the Japanese fighter’s pressing attack.
In short, I would be shocked if this fight goes much differently. With the referee and judges under much more scrutiny this time around and Murata simply being an all round better boxer than N’Dam, its hard to look past the challenger in this one, even at odds of almost 1/10.
Murata is a fighter who really impressed me the first time around and with big fights being mentioned against such high caliber opposition such as Billy Joe Saunders and Danny Jacobs in the near future, becoming the WBA Middleweight Champion would put Murata firmly in the mix at 160.
Whatever happens, let’s hope for a better performance from the judges this time around.
Pick: Ryoto Murata